We climbers have a term called "The Elvis" or "Sewing Machine Leg.” Most climbers who find themselves in a difficult and or dangerous situation will eventually experience this unusual phenomena. “The Elvis” is characterized by a spasmodic, uncontrollable, and unwelcome shaking of the leg. Some people, like me get “The Elvis” so bad that not just their leg shakes. In worse case scenarios, the vibrations can take over my entire body!
More times than I can count I have found myself stranded in a sea of terror, on a horrifically dangerous rock climb, with nothing between me and certain death…and then… at the least opportune moment… my whole body begins to vibrate like a paint shaker on overdrive! Usually I recite my patented danger mantra, “Oh No….Oh No….OH NOOO.”
Many people find it too unnerving to watch me climb. More that one pour soul while witnessing my uncertain situation, has been overcome with nausea and had to vacate the scene! I seem to recall someone vomiting in the bushes after witnessing one of my near death sketch fests!
You might ask, why put your self through that kind of abuse? Why Climb? My response is that moments like these are exactly why I climb. When in the face of uncertainty and fear, I somehow find the courage to overcome body tremors, the unknown, and the possibility of broken legs, to push through, and make it to the top! These small personal victories are a strange mix of cleansing, and addictive. I somehow find joy in overcoming danger!
Some of my most ecstatic points have been reached through risk in climbing. Before I discovered the climbing life at the age of twenty one I was aimless, listless and lost in a haze of my own creation. Whether climbing “saved my life” is debatable, but certainly with Climbing I discovered real passion for the first time. I can say confidently that climbing has vastly improved me as a person. It’s been the framework on which I have built my life. It has made me a healthier happier person.
I have lost a lot of friends to climbing, especially in the mountains, and some would say that it’s not worth the risk. I however firmly believe that life with out risk and passion really isn’t life at all. I think that a year living your personal dream, and squeezing the juice out of life, is worth more than a lifetime of mundane, uninspired and depressing security. The bottom line is that I climb because it makes me happy. I’m not saying that you need to risk your life to find happiness, but almost certainly you need to risk something. For me, I find precious moments run out on a rope, with my leg shaking like Elvis at a sewing machine!
Greetings Vertical Carnival Denizens!! Cedar Here!! I'm super psyched to be releasing my second "vertical carnival" album as a digital download. This installment which I've entitled "Senses Meet" features, an interesting mix of original material, and covers of civil war era protest, unrequited love, and folk type songs!! There are 27 songs on the album, and I'm peddling it for eight dollars!! I really hope you like it. Also, the folks at Backcountry asked me to wax philosophical as to why I climb, so click on read more to check out my thoughts!!!
Friday, July 30, 2010
Posted by Cedar Wright at 12:33 PM